A sheet of paper, cleverly folded, metamorphoses into a bird, animal, flower or just about anything you desire, the wonder of origami!
What is origami?
Origami is the 17th century Japanese art of paper folding that became known to the rest of the world around the mid 20th century. The craft originated several centuries earlier in China, where paper was first developed, and travelled to Japan with Chinese Buddhist monks. Here, it acquired the name origami (ori=to fold, gami=paper). Historically, origami designs and folding techniques in both cultures were passed down as an oral tradition from mothers to daughters.
The origami influence on fashion and furniture In Japan, origami acquired new strength and flowered into a complex, beautiful art form and began influencing other spheres like fashion, architecture and furniture.
Origami-inspired sharp angles and abstract designs in buildings were a first in modern Japanese architecture.
Fashion designers worldwide now derive creative ideas from the clean, incisive lines of origami. Donna Karan bags and Bottega Veneta totes have featured geometrical, origami-style folds. Boxy, structured clothes, in solid black-and-white and greyscale, suggesting the rigidity of paper, have featured in fashion collections from renowned names like Calvin Klein, Christian Lacroix and Rick Owens. The 2009 Chanel spring collection featured paper headdresses created by Japanese designers. Origami in fashion is an ongoing trend.
Origami designs in furniture are much sought after. Origami's sleek, spare dimensions translate into to chic, eclectically styled sofas, tables, chairs and lamps made of steel or plastic. Moreover, origami furniture offers the advantages of being lightweight, occupying minimal space and easy maintenance, a boon for modern apartment living.
Books on origami The first book offering instructions on this craft was aptly titled How to Fold 1000 Cranes. It was published in 1797. Today, there are scores of books on origami to choose from, for both adults and children. A sampling:
Origami: Paper-Folding Made Easy (Linda M. Walker) Densho Origami My First Origami Book Origami for Children (Mari Ono, Roshin Ono) Origami courses Origami has health benefits too! It stimulates your creative juices, relieves stress and improves concentration. It's also a great educational tool for teaching small children principles of mathematics. So do look around for local origami hobby courses and sign up.
From a home-based craft using the simplest of materials, paper, this unique Japanese tradition has become an art that lends itself to infinite experimentation and creativity. Moreover, it's something anyone can excel at, so go ahead, and unleash the origami artist within you!
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